Bolling: In the 2022 Midterm Elections, Republicans Simply Blew It
It has been said that life is about choices. You make good choices, and good things likely follow. You make bad choices, and bad things likely follow.
The same could be said of political campaigns, especially when it comes to primary campaigns or other nominations processes. A political party’s choices in who they nominate to carry their banner in the general election often determine whether or not they will be successful.
Want proof of this? Just consider the bad choices Republican primary voters made in 2022, and how those choices compromised their ability to win competitive campaigns in key swing states in Tuesday’s midterm elections.
In Georgia, Republicans could have nominated Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black to run for the U.S. Senate. Black had previously won three statewide campaigns in Georgia. But instead, they nominated Herschel Walker, who may have been the worst candidate anywhere in 2022. On Tuesday, Walker finished second to vulnerable, first term Democrat Raphael Warnock, and is now headed to an uncertain runoff election in December.
In New Hampshire, Republicans could have nominated State Senate president Chuck Morse, a mainstream Republican who was endorsed by popular Republican Governor Chris Sununu. Instead, they nominated retired Army General Donald Bolduc, an outspoken 2020 election denier. On Election Day, Sununu was re-elected by 16%. Bolduc lost by 9%, a difference of 25%. That means that 1/4 of the people who voted for Sununu then voted for a Democrat for the U.S. Senate.
In Pennsylvania, Republicans could have nominated David McCormick, the CEO of Bridgewater Associates, a respected international investment firm and former Under Secretary in the Department of Commerce and the Department of the Treasury. Instead, they nominated controversial TV doctor Mehmet Oz, who wasn’t even a resident of the state of Pennsylvania. Branded as inexperienced, an extremist, and a carpet bagger, Oz proceeded to lose to Democrat John Fetterman.
In Arizona, Republicans could have nominated respected businessman Jim Lamon or state Attorney General Mark Brnovich. Instead, they nominated another Trump backed 2020 election denier, Blake Masters. While the Arizona Senate race has yet to be called, incumbent Democrat Mark Kelly currently leads by 5% and is the likely winner.
Does anyone see a trend here? These were all missed opportunities. In all these races Republicans nominated far right-wing candidates who had little chance of winning a statewide campaign in more moderate swing states, when they could have nominated candidates who were more qualified to serve and would have had a much better chance of winning.
In each of these states, Republican primary voters chose candidates closely aligned with former President Donald Trump and turned away more qualified and electable alternatives. These candidates appealed to the far-right wing base of the Republican Party, but they did not appeal to anyone else. As a result, they contributed to the Republican Party’s failure to win an historic victory on Tuesday and regain control of the U.S. Senate.
If Republicans want to continue losing, they just need to keep doing what they are currently doing. If they want to win, they need to thank President Trump for his past service, then turn the page and move on.
The truth is that in 2018, 2020, and again in 2022, Trump’s politics and approach were rejected by the American people. It’s time for someone else to become the face of the GOP.